Seb Bouin has flashed his hardest route yet with a 'flash first-ascent' of Baise moi 8c+/9a, an unclimbed project at Saint Auban in the Verdon Gorge. The project was given a suggested grade of 8c+/9a by those who had tried it previously and was named 'Baise moi' ['f*ck me', in English] by the locals who bolted the route.
For Seb, the grade felt closer to 8c+ — two grades harder than his previous best flash ascent from 2015, when he flashed Les rois du pétrole 8b+, in Pic Saint Loup.
Seb commented: "My hardest flash ever! Coming back from Norway, the plan was to spend a month in France between Verdon Gorges and the Alps, climbing some new routes and bolting future projects. The first stop was a relatively new crag "Saint Auban", around the Verdon Gorges which has been bolted by local climbers François Chollet and Adrien Boulon. The first day I was climbing with François Chollet (AKA "Wawa"). I warmed up on "Le vent l'emportera" 8a, which I onsighted. Then I managed to climb "Trésor" 8b flash, to finish the warm-up. François told me he needed 45 minutes to rest.
So, I was psyched to check out a project called "Baise moi", thought to be 8c+/9a. He told me I should wait for Adrien Boulon (the bolter of the route, who is also trying it) to get the beta and give it a flash attempt. But I didn't think this would be possible. The route is impressive and imposing (45 meters through a big overhang). I was tired from our Norway travel. I said I will just check the moves and hope for a good second go. Then Adrien arrived when I was ready to go. He was psyched for a flash. I thought "Why not?", even if I was doubtful, I had nothing to lose.
Then, crux by crux, I understood that the route could be possible, it was 100% my climbing style. Big moves, bad rests between the cruxes. A pure endurance route. I didn't make any mistakes and I took the risks at the right moments. It's rare to have this kind of opportunity. I am not used to climb onsight or flash in this level. I have not so many routes left in this level to practice. I am not so good at taking risks in my climbing, so I am quite happy about the result of this climb. It's quite hard to combine everything for an onsight or a flash : the good betas, the shape, the right conditions. Adrien's flash beta was perfect. I would need at least 3 goes to find all his beta from scratch.
Regarding the grade: Adrien and another local, Franck Andolfatto, are currently trying the route. They are thinking it might be 8c+/9a. As I did the First Ascent, I suppose I have to give a grade. It's hard to choose, as I did it first go. I would like to give a solid grade without slash for this one, so I decided to get back on the route to try again few moves and have a better idea. I think this route should be 8c+ (5.14c). It would be a dream to flash a 9a, but I think "Baise moi" is a bit easier. I hope to have other opportunities to flash 9a's in my career. Thanks to Adrien Boulon for bolting the route and giving the perfect betas and thanks to François Chollet for the long, long belay."
So far this summer, Seb has repeated Bibliographie 9b+ at Céüse (UKC News) and Adam Ondra's Move Hard 9b (UKC News) at Flatanger. In 2022, he became only the second-ever climber to establish a route at 9c - the world's hardest grade to date - with an ascent of DNA at la Ramirole in the Verdon Gorge (UKC News).